Resources for Torah Study
A Torah scroll contains 304,805 letters, 79,847 words, 54 parshiyot (portions), and 5 books. The sofer will be writing most of those letters, but you have an opportunity to start writing the Torah yourself. No parchment required. All you need is one of these Tekiah inserts and five minutes a day.
Each month's Tekiah (below) contains verses of Torah. These verses are your first opportunity to participate in the Torah writing project. The plan is for each of us to read, learn and write these verses. Just like showing up for 15 minutes on Shabbat, we believe this practice of five minutes a day will be an easy way to bring Torah to your center, to your home, to read, learn and write. If you find the full verse too intimidating to start, there is another track. We want you to tackle what you can handle and what you can actually learn. So, there are a few words in each verse that are bolded. These bold words are the ikar of the verse, the most essential part. If the full verse is too much, devote your five minutes to the ikar in bold letters.
Each verse is broken up into three sections titled, “Read.” “Learn.” and “Write.” Spend five minutes a day working on reading, learning, or writing the verse. Consider these your Torah minutes each day.
In the “Read” section, the verse is presented in Hebrew and transliteration. In this section, you can spend your initial five minutes just reading the verse. At the beginning of the week, devote your five minutes to reading the verse out loud. Read it slowly. Read it with your children. Read it with your parents. Read it with a friend or read it to a friend. Call me at the Beth Torah office and read it to me. If I can’t answer, leave it on my voice mail. Just five minutes: Read the verse.
When five minutes of reading the verse starts to feel silly, because you know it so well, turn your attention to “Learn.” You are learning the verse already as you read. But what does this verse mean? This section includes the meaning of your verse. There, you will find a translation of the whole verse and the meaning of individual words. Start to divide your five minutes of reading the verse aloud in Hebrew with looking at the meaning of words and the meaning of the total verse.
When you feel comfortable stating the meaning of the verse in your own words, devote the majority of your five minutes a day to the “Write” section. You can trace the letters from the Tekiah page or you can try writing them free hand. To help you, if you have not written Hebrew letters in a long time (or ever), you can go to the Akhlah Jewish education website and print out the following PDF: http://www.akhlah.com/aleph_bet/block_letters.pdf. This PDF is a chart of how to write each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet (alef-bet in Hebrew). You can keep the chart with your Tekiah and use it to help you practice forming the letters of the verse or the ikar.
Give each verse a week of five minutes a day, or more if you like. Use this month to become really comfortable with these first three verses or the ikar of the first three verses. Own these verses. Read them. Learn them. Write them. Talk about them to the people in your life. What do they mean? What does learning them mean to you? Send me an email and let me know about your experiences or post on our Beth Torah facebook page.
The Beth Torah Torah scroll will be a physical Torah in our aron kodesh, our holy ark in the sanctuary. The Beth Torah Torah will also live in you. You create a holy space for it in your life, your heart, and your soul it as you read, learn, and write verses of Torah. We are the community we need to read, learn, write and create a home for the Beth Torah Torah.
Rabbi Rebecca Reice's "Read it. Learn it. Write it." Tekiah Inserts
October 2013: Deuteronomy 16:20 and 30:19 Click here to download
September 2013: Deuteronomy 6:4, 6:5 and 8:10 Click here to download
August 2013: Numbers 12:13 and 14:20 Click here to download
June/July 2013: No Tekiah Insert
May 2013: Numbers 6:24, 6:25 and 6:26 Click here to download
April 2013: Leviticus 19:18 and 25:10 Click here to download
March 2013: Leviticus 9:23, 16:30 and 19:2 Click here to download
February 2013: Exodus 20:8 and 31:16 Click here to download
January 2013: Exodus 3:5, 13:8 and 15:11 Click here to download
December 2012: Genesis 28:16 and 32:29 Click here to download
November 2012: Genesis 1:1, 12:2 and 18:25 Click here to download
On-Line Resources for Torah Study
AMIT Daily Torah Study http://www.amitchildren.org/dvararc.asp
AMIT stands for Americans for Israel and Torah. The Divrei Torah available on this site are written by students learning in AMIT schools in Israel. These are commentaries written by students for students.
Bar Ilan University: Academic Articles on the Weekly Torah Reading www.biu.ac.il/JH/Parasha/eng/
Americans Lectures on the weekly Torah reading by the faculty of Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan Israel. A project of the Faculty of Jewish Studies, Paul and Helene Shulman Basic Jewish Studies Center, and the Office of the Campus Rabbi. Published on the Internet under the sponsorship of Bar- Ilan University’s International Center for Jewish Identity.
Especially for Girls www.mybatmitzvahstory.org
A weekly cartoon about the story Jews are reading in the Torah right now. A different writer tells the parasha in four minutes.
My Jewish Learning www.myjewishlearning.com
This excellent site touts itself as “...a trans-denominational Website of Jewish information and education geared toward learners of all religious and educational backgrounds.” This is a great site to peruse as a family!
Portion Clubs www.emitz.com
Sign up and under “Torah” you can connect with other parents or students preparing to read and teach from the same Torahportion. Parents may find other helpful information on this site.
Union for Reform Judaism http://urj.org/learning/torah/
The Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) offers a weekly Torah study written by rabbis and educators from across the United States. Most recently, these are written as ready-to-use Torah studies. Older versions are written mostly as mini-sermons.